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The Next Queen of Heaven

3.01 of 5 stars 3.01  ·  rating details  ·  1,285 ratings  ·  269 reviews
With the new millennium approaching, the eccentric town of Thebes grows even stranger. Mrs. Leontina Scales begins speaking in tongues after being clocked by a Catholic statuette. Her daughter, Tabitha, and her sons scheme to save their mother or surrender her to Jesus—whatever comes first. Meanwhile, choir director Jeremy Carr, caught between lust and ambition, fumbles hi ...more
Kindle Edition, 418 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,901)
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Irene Ziegler
This novel is an embarrassment, the equivalent of catching Gregory Maguire picking his nose at a stop light. Too harsh? Hey, he started it. On page 332: "Hogan picked his nose and flicked it at Kirk's bouffant, where it stuck and hung like a little worm." That's pretty much the juvenile tone throughout the book.

You know a book is going to be bad when the author apologizes for it in the Author's Note. "For readers who know me primarily as a writer of fantasy, the setting and subject matter (and
...more
bookczuk
Finished this last night and am still mulling it over. There were moments as I was reading it when I smiled or chuckled or maybe even laughed out loud at some of the quirky bits and phrases. I really wish I'd followed my sometimes-pattern of marking those spots so I could dutifully report them here, but for some reason, I didn't mark them.

Let me say straight off that there were several things I really liked about this book. The main thing was how Concord Press and Gregory Maguire made it availab
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Susan Emmet
So who is the next Queen of Heaven? Let's see. I don't know even minutes after finishing this 1999 novel of Gregory Maguire. I loved all his other books - the Wicked series, Lost, Mirror/Mirror, etc. - but this tome is a puzzle. I laughed often and hard, albeit at often crude/lewd/rude comments and characterizations. I loved the Catholics of Our Lady in (sort of) cahoots with members of the Pentecostal Radical Radiants, but my favorites were the 70+ yo nuns, led by Sister Mother Clare; Jeremy, t ...more
Terence
The only other Maguire novel I've read is his now legendary Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, 20 years ago when I was a callow graduate student at UCLA. I remember liking it more for the subversive revision of the children's classic than for any other reason. I enjoy that kind of literature - Jason & Medeia, The Looking Glass Wars, Gloriana, Or The Unfulfill'd Queen, King Jesus: A Novel, et al.

When I read the blurb for this novel, I expected something along the line
...more
Julie Johnson
This book was fantastic and is now one of my favourites. I've even gone back to read certain sections again (something I rarely if ever do). It was a joy to read it. I loved the characters, the small town setting, the plots.

This book was very real, with real-life difficulties, which made the characters crystal clear and believable. They also had very believable flaws--which made them human. Painfully so. Yet their perspectives are told with their each unique brand of humor, that what would be a
...more
Zoë
I really want to enjoy every book I read; that's the whole reason I pick them up in the first place, because they sound interesting. However every once in awhile you hit a dud, and The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire is one book that just never got my attention, let alone kept it. The book is the story of the town Thebes, full of eccentric characters including Mrs. Scales who becomes a little crazy after being knocked on the head by a Catholic statue, her daughter Tabitha who rebels agai ...more
Beau
I consider myself a Maguire fan, based on my enjoyment of a number of previous books. Wicked, of course, but I think that Ugly Stepsister was monumentally good.

This book ... I confess that I gave up after 100 pages. Perhaps it gets better after that, but I won't be around to find out. I'm being selfish. I didn't care about anyone in the book. I wasn't curious about what happened next.

I kind of felt like I was reading about Liir, or Chabon's "Mysteries of Pittsburgh." But in the end, I felt lik
...more
melydia
While I was reading this, I was really enjoying it, but now that I look back, I can't quite figure out what it was trying to do. There's a lot of humor and a fair bit of tragedy, but not a whole lot of story. A woman goes mad when she gets clonked on the head by a statue of the Virgin Mary. A trio of gay men befriend a gaggle of elderly nuns. A teenage girl is self-righteously angry but also rather hilariously dumb. A man with HIV gets ill. People mistreat each other. A man is hopelessly obsesse ...more
John
I think my 3-star rating of this book may be a bit generous as I sit down to write this review. I had to force myself to finish reading this story mostly out of curiosity as to how it would end. And, now that I am finished, admitedly, I find myself asking, "So what?"

A collection of wacky characters and their inter-related life stories are the backdrop of the storyline that includes a three-time divorced mother (Mrs. Leontina Scales) who is a member of the 'Cliffs of Zion Radical Radiant Pentecos
...more
Rosa
Picked this up in my local Border’s going out of business sale, knowing nothing about author Gregory Maguire, and figuring the paperback would do as light-hearted entertainment on one of my upcoming plane trips across the Pacific. I was a little nostalgic for one of those pleasures Kindle has robbed me of: Finishing a paperback on a trip and being happy to leave it behind as a surprise for the next guest to inherit your hotel room ...or for the housekeeper, or the barista making my coffee each m ...more
Nicole
After reading this book, I can see the correlations between it and the back cover synopsis, but can't help feeling that the back cover was misleading. For example, Mrs. Scales does not at any point in the book speak in tongues. Also, "Christmas pageant" is the wrong term for the Christmas Eve mass debacle it depicts (there are no people, just chipped old creche statues, and I've always thought a pageant involved real people acting out something...but maybe I'm wrong. I could live with that.)

Wher
...more
A.
This is one of those novels where you care... but then you don't. For some reason, as interesting and extraordinary as the characters were supposed to be, most of the time I could not bring myself to *really* want to know what was going to happen. Maybe because they were *all* written as extraordinary, they all became ordinary within the novel.

I will be more specific. You have a stereo-typical evangelical christian who gets conked on the head while sneaking in the basement of the neighboring cat
...more
Jessica
Years ago I read "Wicked" by this author and thought I'd give this one a try when I stumbled across it at the library. It was a pleasant surprise that much of this book takes place during Christmas, as that wasn't mentioned on the back cover. While it does take place during the holiday season, it isn't a part of the story itself and only serves as more of a background for certain events, such as Midnight Mass in a Catholic church.

This book was lighthearted, easy to read, and sometimes so goofy a
...more
Nely
Gregory Maguire is known for his retelling of children's stories (i.e. The Wizard of Oz, The Little Match Girl, etc.) This is the first of his novels that I see that he has come up with a purely fictional story. I must confess that I did have some trouble with the amount of characters in this novel and I found myself more than once trying to get a grip on what was happening because I had one of the characters mistaken.

It did get a little easier to read after a while, especially once I got the c
...more
Rebecca
This was a neat read at Christmas for several reasons. First, it begins with a protestant parishioner who gets knocked on the head accidentally with a Catholic statuette of Mary and begins speaking in tongues right around Christmas time. (Ha! I just love this plot device.) Second, this book is free through Concord Free Press; all they ask is that you donate to a charity of your choice. This is also a beautiful representation of the Christmas spirit, and I applaud their efforts.

I do think the ma
...more
Naomi
I'd like to give this 2 1/2 stars. It was a decent story and entertaining read although I thought it was uneven and didn't fulfill its potential. It could have been really good if he had just developed it some more and used some of the interesting characters he introduced only to ignore for the rest of the book.
After being impressed by Wicked and The Ugly Stepsister, I have been consistently disappointed by Gregory Maguire, especially since his concepts for each novel have been so original. This
...more
Blair
I swear Maguire has some other people writing stuff and putting his name on it. I understand that an author will not always hit it out of the park but it is an even 50/50 with this guy. Still trying to figure out what he was trying to accomplish with this book. No resolution, thin plot-line, just a bunch of stuff that happens with really weak dialogue.

It feels like this is a short story he had stashed away somewhere, needed something to turn into the publisher in between "Wicked" books, fleshed

...more
Alia
Again, I wish I could do half stars, because I think my rating is more like 3.5 stars than 3. It was an interesting book, but very unlike Maguire's other writings. The characters were all normal small-town people dealing with maybe not-so-normal problems, like a woman being hit on the head by a Virgin Mary statue and going into a sort of coma. The book leaves you with the impression that maybe things will be okay for everyone at the end, but it doesn't tie things up too neatly or in ways that wo ...more
Susan
I got to page 100, and even though a few of the characters stirred my interest (Sister Alice and the elderly nuns), and there were some funny lines, I just couldn't bring myself to care about or like any of the other characters. They came across as hollow caricatures of various white trash types ("slutty, foul-mouthed teen", "flaky, ineffective religious-freak mother", "sensitive, probably gay baby of the family", etc.). Another reviewer here called this book "exceedingly tedious" and that sums ...more
Gregg Bell
I'm surprised I bought this book. I'm a believer, and this book seemed pretty profane. Yet something about it appealed. I like to think of myself as being open-minded, and all I ask is the same from anyone else. Anyway, with a little trepidation, I gave the book a shot.

It's a strange story set in a small town in New York named Thebes. And, yes, it's pretty profane. Very profane. But it's in its way somehow fair too. The story centers around a hyper-religious woman who gets hit on the head by a s
...more
Heidi
I've never disliked a Gregory Maguire book before but I didn't like this book. New characters were being introduced as far as halfway into the book who had little or nothing to do with the storyline. The main characters themselves were almost all completely unlikeable people. And while I am not a fan of a tidy ending, I do need to at least feel like there has been some kind of resolution.
Connie Marshall
Nov 15, 2010 Connie Marshall rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: most anyone
Recommended to Connie by: found it online cnn maybe
this book was free online with the stipulation that you donate to a charity of your choice and log the donation amountand the charity's name on their website for tracking purposes and then pass the book on to someone after reading it and recording your name in the back of the book. It was different than any of his other books I've read but was perfect for the chilly damp weekend.
Marsha
The Next Queen of Heaven is a wicked romp of a book, featuring as it does a wildly askew group of characters duking out their various roles in life and jostling each other for center stage. Just when you think you’ve pinned down the central character of this novel (is it the addled Leontina Scales, her rebellious daughter Tabitha, her effete son Kirk, a cloister of superannuated nuns or the dying Sean, et al.?), the focus shifts to bring another person under its microscope. Nuns, priests, hoolig ...more
Meghan Castner
Akin to the novels "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," "The Choir" and "Brighten the Corner Where You Are," this book expertly weaves the lives of several individuals in a small upstate New York town during the holiday season. This fictional tale is a departure from Maguire's typical genre of fantasy novels, and he handles the change adroitly. You find yourself empathizing with characters whose life situations you may never have related to before reading Maguire's perceptive prose. Witty and charming ...more
Paula
Couldn't even past the first 100 pages. Lots of nonsense that didn't relate to the storyline ... oh wait, I couldn't even figure out the storyline in the first 100 pages!
Dixie
Library Kindle. Got for flight back to Prague in case ran out - couldn't get a lot of books on my list of "want to reads". Several had recommended this author but the book name was A Lion Among Men.

Reading this one (March 17), it's a weird but making me chuckle quite a bit book, easy read. If continues, imagine I will look for A Lion Among Men and expect it to be even better. Yes, finished it. Nothing much to think on but an easy, chuckle book - there is sex & cursing in the book - but that
...more
Jeremy
While Maguire's prose style is pleasant and he is often entertaining, he lacks depth in his writing, so all his characters feel flat. It's nice to see him write something that isn't based on a classic tale, but sadly, there's a reason he normally borrows from other sources... Take for instance, his lead characters in this piece - one is an annoying, self-centered and thoroughly insufferable gay man who pines for a man he can't have. The other is an annoying, self-centered and thoroughly insuffer ...more
Nancy
The blurb on the back of this book leads you to believe it is a hysterically funny novel - and it is in many ways. You have Tabitha, the slut of Thebes, New York and long-suffering daughter of Leontina Scales. You have Jeremy Cobb, gay chorus leader who only wants out of Thebes and the sooner the better, except....You have Tabita's brothers - Hogan and Kirk - who have their own issues and lots of them. And then you have the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mysteries who are doomed to extinction because ...more
Jasmyn
This book has one of the most diverse cast of characters I've ever seen. We start out with the rebellious teenage girl (Tabitha) and her super religious mother (Leontina - a Pentacostal). The two brothers of the family - one an attention starved young man that would do anything to please and the other surprisingly like Tabitha. Next we meet the Catholics (they share a parking lot with the mother's chuch). The way we meet them is rather interesting. Leontina sneaks into the Catholic church one mo ...more
Rebecca
If, like me, you've read some of the more negative reviews of this book and have been led to expect disappointment (especially if, like me, you are a big fan of all things Gregory Maguire), I'd say you could be in for a pleasant surprise. "The Next Queen of Heaven" and "Lost" - Maguire's two 'original' novels (i.e. those not based on pre-existing fairy tales and/or children's classics) - tend to come in for a bit of a slating, and I think this can be attributed, at least in part, to the way he'l ...more
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Gregory Maguire is an American author, whose novels are revisionist retellings of children's stories (such as L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz into Wicked). He received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University, and his B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany. He was a professor and co-director at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children' ...more
More about Gregory Maguire...
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister Son of a Witch (The Wicked Years #2) Mirror Mirror A Lion Among Men (The Wicked Years, #3)

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“But his face had that hollow look, as if there was something gone... you know that look. The inward focus. Distantly attentive to the home you're missing, or the someone you're missing. That look that a bird has when it turns it dry reptilian eye on you. That look that doesn't see you because the mind is filled up with someone it would rather see.” 29 likes
“I hate New Year's Eve. One more chance to remember that you haven't yet done what you wanted. And to pretend it doesn't matter.” 8 likes
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